After debating and delaying for literal years, in about a months time I’ll finally be making my way to Portland for the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. Heralded as one of the west coast’s largest gaming conventions, I’m expecting to find some rare and expensive games I’ve never seen before, as well as (hopefully) some great finds to add to the collection. I’m also thinking it might be wise to start looking at games for the Game Boy Advance, a console I’ve been playing these past few months and have criminally neglected over the past decade.
So I started looking up some sought after or hidden gems on the Nintendo handheld. While it’s incredibly easy to find recommendations, it’s not that simple to to be able to afford them. Some games are downright ridiculous in price… and that got me thinking.
I cannot be alone in collecting and trying to stay within a budget. I don’t buy games that are crazy expensive. I also don’t usually buy games just to own them. Instead, I’ll pick up games that are on the cheaper side, are ones I want to play, or are ones that I’ve never heard of and am happy to try out. For me, this is debatable my favorite part about collecting: finding an otherwise unnoticed game and having a good time with it.
Rather than repeat to you a series of “Hidden Gems” and “Rare” games that you might already know about, I was hoping to highlight some of the games that are potentially more known, but also remain affordable for smaller budgets. We’re talking like, $5-$20 games. Titles you might not see often, but are still worth your time.
I’ll highlight a few of the more commendable Wii games down below, as well as general price ranges. I also think it might be fun to look back at this post years down the road to see if I was way off the mark on the future resale value on some of these (as is the case with just about every post like this from before). You can think of this as a sort of list of games you can play and enjoy, may not have heard of, and can actually afford.
Mercury Meltdown Revolution
An enhanced port of the PS2 game Mercury Meltdown Remix (Itself an enhanced port of the PSP’s Mercury Meltdown) is arguably at its best on the Wii. I believe there are added levels here not seen in the original PSP/PS2 games, but the real difference maker is the use of the Wii’s motion controls to navigate levels. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before in games like Super Monkey Ball or Kororinpa, but it’s done well enough here to engage any puzzle fan. Also, the game can be played with a standard non-motion controller if you prefer. Visuals and sound are fine, and a lack of true multiplayer are the most common criticisms.
Price: ~$7 CIB
MLB Power Pros
I’m not a huge sports game fan, but when I do play, it’s almost always the arcade variety. MLB Power Pros is a baseball game series that saw it’s first release outside of Japan here on the Wii. Featuring deformed and chibi versions of the team rosters at the time, MLB Power Pros plays more like an arcade game than a true Baseball sim. There are lots of game modes to enjoy, and the game is simple to understand and enjoy. It’s somewhat addictive to run through the World Series mode and take your team all the way to the championship. There’s also a create-a-team mode, but I was never able to unlock it. Motion controls are optional, and the modes that use them incorporate them well. For an arcade sports game, you can’t do much better on the Wii!
Price: ~$10 CIB
I talked about this game way back in 2014 and I still think of it highly. Essentially a point-and-click mystery game featuring typical Wii motion controlled minigames, Guilty Party can be played solo or with a group of friends. You’ll work together to uncover the mystery of a murdered family mogul, and determine who dunnit in a delightfully simple yet charming way. A theme song that has no right being as catchy as it is leads an all around polished game. Though not a Sherlock Holmes level mystery, Guilty Party is still a surefire hit for a group of friends or a group of younger kids.
Price: ~$8 CIB
This is a unique game for the Wii in that it isn’t so much as a game as an exploration simulator with slight game elements. Endless Ocean has you exploring the deep seas and engaging with all the life down below the depths. The game has you swimming around coral reefs and open waters, cataloging all types of fish and marine life, with an end goal being to locate a specific whale that has eluded researchers for years. It’s certainly a unique game on the system: if you’re looking for something new or different to play, look no further!
Price: ~$8 CIB
Help Wanted: 50 Wacky Jobs
Aside from having perhaps the most “Shovelware” title imaginable, Help Wanted is a fantastic minigame collection. Being created at Hudson, the same publisher that made several Mario Party games, you can see a sense of familiarity with the Wii console: the designers know how to use the Wii’s motion controls well. Minigames are tied to a variety of oddjobs you and your family must complete in order to collect enough money to stop a meteor from crashing into the planet and, well, ending humanity. It’s a bonkers story, but it’s presented well, is genuinely funny, and features some fun moments. A big gripe comes from not all games being multiplayer, but if you don’t mind passing controllers to have a good time, you’ve got hours of fun on your hands!
Price: ~$9 CIB
Part of me is now wondering if my mind subconsciously thought of this article if for no other reason than to talk more about Pac-Man Party. Even so, it doesn’t discount that this is a great party game for up to four players. You can think of this as Mario Party meets Fortune Street, but that’s not doing the minigames justice. If Mario Party on the Wii has let you down, I’d recommend this one easily. It has a unique twist on minigame powerups that I’d love to see more games incorporate, and it also mixes up how you might play games based on your overall board placement. It’s great, and well worth your time.
Price: ~$10 CIB
WarioWare: Smooth Moves
Likely the most recognizable game on this list, Smooth Moves was the first game that made me realize the magic of the Wii. Playing it with friends was and still is a riot: you’ll laugh and have a grand time the entire time you’re playing it. The expert use of the Wii’s motion controls, the serene announcer for each form, the absurdity of the minigames themselves… it has it all. There are some games that are hidden gems and some that are just gems. WarioWare: Smooth Moves on the Wii is a gem that should be played by all Wii owners.
Price: ~$18 CIB
Special shoutout to Red Steel 2, featured as the first image of the article. It’s much better than the first game, and is also under $15’ish these days. Worth a look if you wanted samurai sword action with your Wii Remote.